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Book trade takes pride of place on 'Young Apprentice'

Booksellers and publishers hit the limelight last night (8th November) on BBC1's "Young Apprentice", in which HarperCollins' Hammersmith offices were the setting for the teenage entrepreneurs' latest task.

The budding businessmen and women were asked to create a new cookbook before pitching it to major booksellers.

Waterstones' children’s new titles buyer Melissa Cox and non-fiction new titles buyer Richard Humphreys, Sainsbury's book buying manager Phil Carroll and senior buyer Sharon Nightingale, and Play.com's head of books and games Caroline Mileham and buyer Louise Bagley, all featured on the show, alongside HC staff. The young apprentice teams pitched two cookbooks—one aimed at students and another aimed at professional women.

The winning team was decided by Lord Sugar on the number of orders booksellers placed for each title.

Collins, in collaboration with Forward Print, created dummy copies of the books within 24 hours for the candidates to use in their pitches. Head of production Anna Mitchelmore said: "Prior to filming we had discussions with the Young Apprentice production team about the cookery book market and possible directions for the contestants' books, as well as explaining the various elements involved in putting an illustrated book together.

"The 16 and 17-year old contestants came up with their own concepts, recipes, photography and  styling but we had two experienced designers on standby ready to lay out the pages and covers, following the contestants' briefs and directions, as soon as they arrived at the HC offices."

She added: "Late in the evening, when the contestants' designs were completed, we whizzed the files over to our wonderful colleagues at Forward Print, who printed pages and covers and bound them into the dummy books we'd prepared, delivering the finished books to the contestants' house before 7am the next morning. We like to pride ourselves on fast turnaround of books at HC, but concept to finished book in 24 hours is a pretty tall challenge!"

HC publishes Apprentice mentor Karren Brady’s book Strong Woman, as well as cookery books by Lorraine Pascale and Nigel Slater.